December 31, 2013

Let's Catch Up

December is almost over, and we will be the first to say that it's been a crazy month. It doesn't even feel like it should be Thanksgiving yet, much less New Year's Eve, but time has a way of getting away from us when we're busy doing what we love. We have been doing just that, and we'd like to take a moment and fill everyone in on what's been going on with Beau + Luci.

We kicked the month off with our first contest, and we were thrilled to see the great response! Each person that entered the "Favorite Christmas Song Contest" was entered into a drawing for a $25 prepaid Visa card. We had a lot of great submissions (a few new songs we'd never even heard before!), and from these submissions came our Christmas set for a couple of special performances, which ended up consisting of the six most popular songs: Happy Christmas/Christmas Canon Rock, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, O Holy Night, White Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who participated, and another huge congratulations to the winner of our draw, Chelsea Young! All of us at Camp Beau + Luci hope Chelsea was able to do something really special with her prize and is looking forward to her Beau + Luci OneHeart Organization shirt. Thanks to all of you who made this contest such a wonderful success!

Also, we would love to thank the Big Brothers Sunday School Class of Jamestown Baptist Church once again for giving us the honor and privilege of performing at your annual Christmas party and for allowing us to be part of such a wonderful night. We had another very exciting time at the BCOG Music Department "Sunday Night Show" fundraiser. Thank you to Amy Evors, who headed up the fundraiser, for inviting us to take part in such an exciting event, and to our friend Randal Broadhead for being such a genius with the sound and stage set up. The BCOG Music Department truly outdid themselves with food and decorations, and we were thrilled to be included. And finally, an extra-special thank you to our "little drummer boy," Frank Sikes, for putting up with us and playing guitar for us. We had an absolute blast singing for and performing with you guys, and we hope to do it again next year (we're even working on an Australian Christmas song for it!). You made our Christmases a little happier, and we hope we made your days a bit merrier and brighter.

While at BCOG's "Sunday Night Show," we gave a quick interview before our performance with some of our background and a brief overview of the long, winding road that led us to where we are. More importantly, though, we had our first public release of the OneHeart Organization. We were able to explain how passionate we are for helping others and seeing the impact that tiny acts can have on people, a true testament to our belief that genuine love does not have to consist of a series of extraordinary acts, and to urge others to get involved with the OneHeart Organization as we strive to do your part in making the world just a little bit better. We continue to ask for your support, encouragement, and involvement as we live out our mission statement to "Create Hope, Inspire Joy, Encourage Faith, and Share Love." Remember, the true poverty of the human race is not living with no money. True poverty is the poverty of the heart, when one lives with no love, no friendship, and no hope. Love is the easiest and freest gift to give, and the best to receive. Let us all keep that in mind as we enter the new year.

Phew! Now that you've been caught up with everything we've been doing, remember to check back for updates on the exciting/cool/interesting/mind blowing/fantastic things that are coming up. We'll also be printing more OneHeart Organization t-shirts in January, so be sure to place yours orders before supplies run out! You'll be helping support a truly great cause and get a pretty darn cool shirt out of it (see pictures below). Also, we'll be returning to Gainesville, Georgia for a marathon week of writing and recording six new songs, which we can't wait to share with you all, so keep an eye out for new exclusive giveaways, free downloads, and the launch of our first full-length album! By signing up for our e-mail list at, you'll be the first to hear about what trouble we're causing, when new music will be released, and have access to prizes and giveaways before anyone else. Thank you so much for your patience, support, encouragement, and love, and please know how grateful we are for every one of you guys. We couldn't have done anything without you, and we don't want to do anything in the future without you, either!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year,

Beau + Luci

P.S. Have you got some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, or are you looking for some fun music to dance to while working off all those massive meals? Download our EP, Rules of Society, at any of these sites:

Or you can stream us for free on Spotify ( or Rdio ( Make sure to follow our profile on Spotify, "like" and share us with your friends on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter (@BeauAndLuci), Pinterest (/beauandluci), Tumblr (, and Instagram (Beau + Luci). We look forward to connecting with you!

December 15, 2013

'Tis The Season

We are ten days out from Christmas, and I couldn't be more excited! The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year, and why shouldn't it be? It's stuffed to the brim with family time, the best movies, and, most importantly, lots of food! (Aren't you glad we only have turkey and dressing twice a year? I think I would seriously hate it otherwise.) Plus, it's socially acceptable to listen to Christmas songs nonstop, even if you've secretly been singing your way through Michael Buble's Christmas album since July.

We really get into the Christmas spirit the day after Thanksgiving, when Mom orders us all off of the couch and into the attic, despite our turkey hangover, to begin shuttling the crates of Christmas decorations down the stairs and outside. There are ten billion lights to repair, light-up deer that somehow end up a tangled mess of moving legs, power cords, and antlers and never come downstairs in the same condition they went up, and snowflake lights to unravel. Let me be the first to say it: if you don't have high blood pressure, by the time you're done with those darn snowflakes, you will. I have never been angrier than when I'm sitting cross-legged in the middle of a sparkly, plastic, winter nightmare. And the worst part is the knowledge that once I get them untangled, they have to go up in the trees, where they will proceed to strip the limbs of any leaves, create a mudslide, and capture a few unlucky birds while catching on everything. EVERY. THING. I will be forever grateful to Daddy, who took it upon himself to cut most of the lower branches off of our trees, thereby freeing me from climbing duty. What he didn't realize when he cut them off, though, was that Mom is ingeniously inventive and infuriatingly stubborn, which is not a good combination, especially when she decides that we're going to tie weights to the end of fishing line and throw them into the trees to hang ornaments/lights/the odd mailman.

But that's just the beginning. My mother has always been a "go big or go home" kind of person, so we don't stop at lights. Oh, no. There are larger-than-life wooden cutouts of Santa Claus, toy soldiers, angels, gingerbread men, snowmen, candy canes, and Christmas trees to drag out of the shed and put up. It is a process that requires finesse, a large hammer, and lots of, "Shift it to the right just a tiny bit. No, the right! The right! Wait. My right, your left. Go left!" There are cellophane lollipops so bright they might have come out of the old Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. There are multicolored strands of lights that look like strawberries strung between said lollipops. And there are bows. Big, red or silver, sparkly, perfect bows everywhere. You would be amazed at how well a nice red bow sets off chili pepper lights.

When we finally get everything up outside-generally a week long process punctuated with arguing, screaming in terror, whacking trees/bushes with sticks, running from errant weights, batting over-sized ornaments across the yard in an attempt to loose a snowflake light, and fits of hopeless despair when it becomes apparent that the string of lights is in fact not working-it's time for the trees. Yep, trees. As in plural. They must be the perfect shape, size, and shade of green, grown in the wild and nurtured by the angels. They must smell like sunshine and happiness and Christmas, and when it's time to shed their bristles, they must do so with unmatched enthusiasm. If the floor around them isn't solidly green by the time they're gone, then the trees are doing something wrong. It takes at least an hour to pick the perfect trees, and Beau, Braeden, and I usually follow Mom around and pretend to really study every tree she thinks she might like. Finally, once she picks out the two she wants, it's time for the bartering. Like I said before, she's very hardheaded, and those poor salespeople don't stand a chance once she makes up her mind that she's going to get two trees without paying full price for either. Luckily, this year went smoothly, and we had the trees trimmed and loaded before anyone dissolved into tears. The Christmas tree sellers watched us leave in relief. Their job is done. Ours is just beginning.

Once we get the trees home, they've got to soak in a bucket of water for a minimum of 24 hours, which is Dad's tactful way of saying, "I don't want to deal with them right now." After we get them in the stands, we go back up to the attic to find the boxes of ornaments. By then, we're usually tired of the whole decorating mess and want to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for the sixth time that day. But life isn't easy, and so we put up the lights and the ornaments. All the ornaments, even the paper angels we made 15 years ago that are falling apart and just begging for rest. It doesn't matter if one flimsy branch of that tree has five ornaments on it. They're all going up. Maybe some families manage to do this and look like the families on TV, but we don't. If someone isn't severely agitated by the end of the experience, we just take it all down and start again, with Elvis singing in the background and Beau telling us for the millionth time how much she hates Christmas music. At this point in time, even my adoration of it is wearing thin. There are only so many ways Last Christmas can be sung, you'd think, but the radio seems to have an unlimited supply that they play every ten minutes. This year, to save me from tears, just stop playing it for a day. One day. Is that too much to ask?

Taking a break from the decorating, we go to my grandparents' house to pick oranges. They've got a small orchard in their yard, with orange, lemon, and kumquat trees, all of which need to be picked in time to bag them up in pretty little bags and give them away as Christmas presents. We have a good time together, laughing when someone's hair gets caught in a limb or Braeden gets pelted by an out of control citrus fruit, avoiding the thorns, trying to eat oranges without making too much of a mess, and insisting that taking pictures is not helping (cough, cough Mom). Once we've collected our treasure and bandaged our wounds, we load up on chicken and dumplings. It's a simple, meaningful experience that slows the holiday season down. It's also one of my favorite parts of this time of the year.

It's always fun to look back on Christmases past and see how much has changed. I used to make my Christmas lists in July, and they would be ten pages long and filled with requests of clothes for my baby dolls, a few hundred books, and the odd harmonica or telescope. I would prepare them carefully and put them in a letter addressed to Santa Claus, which Daddy would take to work and send off to the North Pole in time for Santa to handle before Christmas. I would be on my best behavior, because every time I got in trouble, something got crossed off. I must have gotten in trouble quite a bit, because I never did get those three dozen or so American Girl outfits. I would tear into the living room on Christmas morning and make a grand mess of the presents which were wrapped so neatly beneath the tree. Wrapping paper was everywhere. It was mayhem. Nowadays, I like it quieter and simpler. Don't get me wrong, I like presents. Who doesn't? No matter how old you are, it's impossible not to feel a thrill of excitement when you're handed a box that could contain anything. But in the middle of all that wrapping paper flying everywhere and the shouts of excitement as someone opens the present they've been dying to get, it's nice to sit back and see the unabashed excitement on Braeden's face, or the way Mom smiles when she realizes that we were in fact listening the times she mentioned wanting something. A lot of people have said a lot about the Christmas season, about the feeling that you get when you look around and see your loved ones in their pajamas, remembering how it felt to be 6 or 7 on Christmas morning, about the excitement and anticipation that builds and builds the closer December 25th gets, and they've said it more eloquently that I could ever hope to. But in my 18 years, I've found that the Christmas season is about more than buying those boots I wanted, or getting a new series of books on sale. It's not about red velvet cake or a perfect turkey or how many times we can watch Christmas Vacation in a single day (the answer is quite a lot, if you're determined and really believe in yourself.) It's not about the decorations or the Christmas music that nobody can agree on. It's not about snow-or a lack thereof-or reminding ourselves of all the things we wish we had. The Christmas season is about realizing that we've already got everything we could ever wish for. And I think that's beautiful. That's why Christmas is my favorite holiday.

It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all.

So from our family to yours, have a very merry Christmas season. Remember that family is the greatest gift we could ever receive, and love is the freest gift we could ever give. Treasure the things you can't get on Black Friday more than the things you did get. And never, ever forget that it is perfectly acceptable to line your windows with red, orange, and yellow chili pepper lights that you bought when your mother said, "I don't care, just get more lights!" Feliz Navidad, right?

December 1, 2013

This Is Who You Are

You have never been nothing.

You are a body made up of unique DNA and cells that have multiplied into organs and tissues and skin and bones and a system that tries its best to protect you from influences that harm. You are the product of a long line of evolution, the present artifact of your ancestors successfully procreating until their genes were passed onto you. You are a product of chance and deliberate reason.

You occupy a definite space on this planet. You are mass and in your space, you exist.

You are a contributor to collective thought and discourse. You have opinions and decisions that ripple and reverberate in their results. Your words and silence and heavy pauses are all important, no matter the size of their relevance.

You are hope and sadness and betrayal. You are coldness and emotion. You are forgiveness and absolution. You are the difference between acceptance and tolerance. You are brave even as you are a coward. You are giving up and going on. And every single day, you are moving forward whether you want it or not.

You are judgment and objectification, stereotypes and mistaken assumption. You are pollution, you are unstained, an oxymoron. You are rules and the capacity to break them. You are a disorder and you are everything right. You are complicated and complex, and you will always remain a puzzle even to yourself.

You are sexuality and intellect, passion and logic coexisting in one being.

You are death itself because you have been holding its hand on the very day you were conceived. You will come to embrace the moment your breath expires and you will be nothing but a memory as your facts become part of the world’s continuous fiction.

But right now you are here and you are alive. You are possibility and change in one. You are soul and you are heart, no less and no more than anyone else around you. You were born as energy and power. You have a story and it is being written at this very second. When the end comes, what will your tale be about? What will they say about you who once existed and lived and decided?

You are creation and destruction. You have a right to your own definition.

Over all of these, you are master. There is the challenge of circumstance and forces that try to outline you into a template of how life should be lived, of what and how you should be. Remember that you can listen or ignore them.

This is your life and you should live it and believe as you please. Waste your hours, harness your power. Be offensive or try to reconcile. Stay ignorant or seek enlightenment and education. Place blame or take responsibility. See an unsolvable problem or a see a challenge. Be pointless. Be purposeful. In the end, know that everything you do is on you.

Yesterday, you were important. Today you are vital. Tomorrow you will still count.

(All credit goes to Thought Catalog and Jamie Delos Reyes.)

Always remember that you are loved, you are appreciated, you are necessary, you are helpful, and you are not forgotten. You are not some sad story with an unhappy ending. You are here, you are alive, and "a still more glorious dawn awaits."

Much love xxx.

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It's a perfect complication of the Three F's: family, food, and football. My grandmother makes more food than any one family should ever eat and we don't do the whole "eat in moderation thing." We don't even eat until we're full. We eat until we hate ourselves, then we take a nap, and then we do it again. It's a family tradition.

In honor of the second best day of the year (Christmas being the first), I'm going to share The First Thanksgiving Proclamation, published on November 26, 1789 . May we, all these many years later, remember how blessed we are, not just today, but everyday. No matter how little we may have, as long as we have each other, we have more than we will ever need. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third of October,
in the year of our Lord 1789.

(signed) G. Washington"

November 24, 2013

Let's Catch Up

Wow, guys! I can't believe it, but November is already almost over. We've had a wild month so far. We've been all over the South in just a few weeks: from the studio to the mountains to Sanford Stadium, down to Jekyll, up to Charlotte and Gatlinburg, and back down to the good ole swamp in time to put up some Christmas decorations, play Michael Bublé's album forty-seven million times, and dig out our stretchy pants for Thanksgiving. I spend the entire summer wishing for the fall, and when it gets here, it flies by! But I'm not complaining; we've had a great time, and we've been able to travel as well as begin the final stages of our first full-length album. Woohoo!

We got to do some work with Lewis and Raulerson and Friendly Express, a group of wonderful people we love dearly! We were so honored to be included in both the annual Charity Golf Tournament and the first annual Friendly Express Family Turkey Run! We had a great time, and our brother Braeden ate a grand total and a personal record of 9 of Mr. Terry's jumbo grilled chicken wings. The golf tournament raised a record amount of funds to be distributed to several grassroots charities in and around the area, and the Turkey Run was a hoot (or should I say a gobble?)! We're looking forward to next year's golf tournament and race. I've added some pictures from both the tournament and the race, as well as the Lewis and Raulerson family wearing their "Feeding Families on Friday" shirts. Remember to go down to your local Friendly Express on Fridays to buy fountain drinks and coffee; ten cents from every purchase is donated to local food pantries. It's a great cause, and we're thrilled to be so close with a company that does so much to give back to the community.

But the fun doesn't end there! In January 2014, we will be releasing our first full length album, including brand new music and all sorts of fun songs to (try to) dance to. We've had such a blast making this album and can't wait to share it with you. Actually, we're so excited to share it that we're going to be releasing a series of videos called "Making Breaking the Rules," which will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the making of our album, including the writing, recording, and mixing process, as well as the general method of our madness, and an exclusive look at our past as we move into the future. Keep checking back for more details and exclusive content only available to our biggest fans.

And there's MORE news! With the launch of the OneHeart Organization, we will be offering one-of-a-kind merchandise to support and fund the OneHeart Team. You can buy t-shirts and sweatshirts to show your support towards creating hope, inspiring joy, encouraging faith, and sharing love through the OneHeart Organization. This is a dream come true for us, and we can only hope that we can use this incredible opportunity to make some other dreams come true.

One more thing! We've created a Tumblr account ( so we can get to know you guys better, and you can see the side of us that's hard to express in 140 characters or less! (Disclaimer: there is a lot of Loki. We do not need your judgment. If you're not Loki'd, you're not living right.) So follow us, reblog us, ask us questions, and let's all take a moment to admire the god of sass and fabulous hair. That being said, remember to follow us on Twitter (@BeauAndLuci), like our Facebook page (/OfficiallyBeauAndLuci), follow us on Pinterest (BeauAndLuci), and share us with your friends. 'Tis the season to be generous, right?

Finally, in this season of love and thanksgiving, remember to keep those who have lost loved ones in your thoughts and prayers, and always, always, always take the time to say "I love you." Tomorrow is never a guarantee, and you can never tell someone you love them too much. The holiday season isn't for reminding us to wish for everything we don't have; the holiday season is for reminding us that we already have everything we could ever wish for. Say I love you, take the time to appreciate the people around you, and count your blessings instead of calories (FYI, the average Thanksgiving meal contains between 3,000 and 4,500 of them. Focus on the blessings and eat the turkey. And a second helping, because it only comes once a year.)

November 17, 2013

Fully Dressed

Once again, Rick Bragg has written an article that made me laugh aloud. In this particular feature, he details the subtle differences between stuffing and dressing. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I truly believe that knowledge is power when faced with the inescapable question: What is stuffing, and why would anyone stick their hand up the back end of a raw turkey to make it?

You can keep your stuffing. My favorite Thanksgiving side is just that—on the side—and we call it dressing.

The word “stuffing” had a lot of connotations when I was a boy. None of them had anything to do with food.

Sofas had stuffing. But then again, I rarely heard the word “sofa.” We sat on “couches.” The first time I heard the word “sofa” I thought it was “Sofia,” and I never did figure out why anyone had to sit on the poor woman. Once, I heard someone say they had to restuff their Sofia. This haunts me still.

I digress. Teddy bears had stuffing for insides. Baseballs had it. We were urged to “knock the stuffing out of it.” If you caught a big fish, or shot a deer, or even a big gobbler, you could have them “stuffed and mounted.” I was mightily confused.

Thanksgiving turkeys, however, did not have stuffing, though sometimes my aunt Jo did shove a whole stick of margarine in there. Stuffing, I would be educated, was another word for dressing. And our dressing, as God intended, was cooked separately, in a shallow baking dish or pan.

It was not something the great cooks in my family were willing to debate.

“Stick your hand up the back end of a raw turkey?” said my aunt Gracie Juanita, shaking her head violently from side to side. “That is not natural.”

“Ain’t even human,” my mother said.

But the word stuffing was everywhere, come November. I heard it on the television, usually accompanied by images of a massive turkey with a golden cascade of breadcrumbs tumbling from its insides. Was I missing out? Why didn’t we have stuffing if they had stuffing on Father Knows Best?

“You ain’t missing nothin’,” my mother told me.

I would learn that, like so many things I struggled to understand, it was a Southern thing, like why a faucet inside the house was a faucet but outside the house it became a hydrant. And Southerners, especially mine, did not tolerate in-the-bird dressing.

“It was kind of like dating a Catholic,” said a very Southern friend. “Thank you, but, no.” I dated many Catholics. I never had stuffing.

I would learn it stemmed from a generational fear of undercooked poultry. How could the turkey cook all the way through, my people reasoned, if the heat could not swirl around inside the bird? Onions, lemons, butter, and other seasoning were allowed, but a thick gob of breadcrumbs was salmonella waiting to happen. But even if bacteria were not an issue, the cooks in my family would have shunned stuffing for one simple reason: taste.

Our dressing started with an iron skillet of cornbread, mixed with onion, sage, and the fatty, golden nectar from boiled turkey or chicken, usually the pieces that would otherwise be thrown away. It was baked until a golden crust formed on the top, leaving the inside firm but creamy. Too dry and it set up like cake. Too wet and it was a watery mess. It had to be perfect, and usually was.

Years ago, I stood in a supermarket, staring at a “stuffing mix” of spices and prepackaged breadcrumbs—tiny, hard little cubes. Mama, I thought, was right again. But when I mentioned that we were having turkey and dressing at my house, my Yankee friends looked confused. You mean, they asked, the stuff you put on salads?

It is a miracle we fought only one war.

All credit goes where credit is due, to the wonderful writer Rick Bragg and Southern Living magazine. I only hope that this extremely scientific approach at explaining the differences between stuffing and dressing has finally alleviated the hysteria, stress, and insanity that has plagued you ever since you learned that stuffing, to some, is not the foamy stuff in the couch or whatever is inside a baseball. May you have peace and uninterrupted sleep for the rest of your days, now that the mystery has been solved. The only stuffing that will be at our table will be the act of eating until we hate ourselves, as it should be. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

November 10, 2013


Can't is the worst word that's written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can't is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can't is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man's purpose and shortens his aim.
Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain.

Can't is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed 'twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: "I can."

-Edgar Guest

May we always remember we are capable of anything. Nothing is impossible for the hopers and dreamers who are crazy enough to believe their far-flung hopes and improbable dreams can come true. Go out and be brilliant.

Xx, L.

November 3, 2013


“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies.”
-Mother Teresa

Here at Camp Beau + Luci, we are driven by two things: a passion for music, and a desire to help those in need. So much has been given to us that we feel it is only right to give back to the community, whether local or global. Because of this, we have sought out a way to tie our music career with the chance to change lives. A lot of brainstorming and long discussions later, we found our starting point: The OneHeart Organization.

The OneHeart Organization was built around the simple mission to Create Hope, Inspire Joy, Encourage Faith, and Share Love. We hope to use The OneHeart Organization as the basis for our own humanitarian foundation in the future, but for now, we will be getting involved in several grassroots that offer aid, encourage creativity and a passion for learning, emphasize the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle, and touch the loves of those in need, both in the local and global community.

We have been lucky enough to develop a partnership with some really incredible organizations already, and have a number of events coming up. The first organization is a local charity called Angel Arms Missions ( or, which provides clothing, school supplies, and weekend nourishment for children, as well as clothing and nourishment for the homeless and those living at or below the poverty level. Angel Arms Missions is dedicated to meeting the basic needs in the community and providing both spiritual and physical resources for people in need. We will be helping with the Backpack Program, which provides food for kids who don't have the assurance of regular meals when school is not in session. Angel Arms Missions also partners with Bethesda House, which is a non-profit organization created to address the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of broken people (

Another organization close to our heart is the Friendly Express Charitable Foundation ( Friendly Express operates with the mindset of giving back, not only to their customers but the community as a whole. They have recently launched the Feeding Families on Friday campaign, donating a portion of all fountain drink and coffee sales made on Fridays to local food pantries such as the Mary Street Mission, Manna House, St. Joseph's Loaves and Fishes, Tabatha's Place, and the Sycamore Tree. They also have a drop off location at each store to collect non-perishable food and toiletries, which are then donated to those in need. We will be working at the annual Friendly Express Invitational Golf Tournament on 7 November, and all funds raised through the golf tournament will be donated to Kingdom Care, Dreams Come True, and Hospice Satilla, as well as many other organizations and foundations devoted to caring for the community. Friendly Express is also hosting a 5K Turkey Run on 16 November to benefit the Marry Street Mission Thanksgiving Dinner, which we will help serve. If any of you guys in the area are interested in taking part in the Turkey Run, you can find the registration form here ( Please take the opportunity to be a part of this cause. For $25 dollars, you will not only have a blast but get the satisfaction of helping others and making Thanksgiving special (and getting in that run you've been meaning to go on for the past, oh, five years or so!).

Everyone remembers their first bike, right? Unfortunately, some children never have the chance to experience the joy of riding a bike. Bikes4Kids, an organization created and operated by Competitive Road Cyclist extraordinaire Crash MacDuff (, who has competed in various European and Americana multi-stage cycling events including the Tour of Austria, Tour of Italy, Tour of Spain, Tour of Poland, and Tour of Venezuela and will be racing in the Toronto 2015 PanAm Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Crash delivers bikes to children who would be unable to have a bike otherwise. We are raising money to purchase bike helmets, so that every child given a bike will be able to enjoy it safely. Crash has also launched a new branch of his organization, No Kid Hungry, to donate meals to children and families in need, ensuring that children are able to enjoy their bicycles and have enough to eat at the same time. Crash is not only a friend and a huge encouragement to us but a humanitarian that we hope to work with in a larger capacity in the future. He encourages a healthy lifestyle and offers the resources to achieve one while giving a child the fun of a bicycle, and we are thrilled to be a part of such an incredible organization.

A fourth organization that has been a fixture in our home for many years is Operation Christmas Child ( Franklin Graham has dedicated his life to meeting the needs of people and proclaiming the Gospel around the world. As the CEO of the Samaritan's Purse, he has grown Operation Christmas Child since 1993 into the massive movement it is now. In the 20 years Operation Christmas Child has been active, over 100 million boys and girls in more than 130 countries have experienced the love of God and the joy of Christmas through a simple shoe box filled with gifts. We will be packing our own shoe boxes to be sent off in National Collection Week (18 - 25 November). We encourage everyone to get involved in such an easy project. A little time and a $7 donation to cover the shipping of each box can do so much more good than any of us could imagine.

Staying true to our roots, we will be performing at Blackshear Church of God's "Sunday Night Show" ( on 15 December, which will benefit BCOG's music ministry. We are looking forward to it, all of the events we've mentioned thus far, and the ones we will be be involved in over the next few months. Pursuing a career in music has opened many doors for us to be able to help those in need, and there is no feeling greater than the one you get when you know you've done something to make someone's life a little easier. We are dedicated to leaving the world a better place than it was when we arrived, and we are so excited to really get involved in the charities and foundations through The OneHeart Organization.

That being said, we are thrilled to to announce the kickoff of The OneHeart Organization t-shirts, which will be released shortly. All proceeds will go towards funding the events and projects we've mentioned, as well as ones we haven't even found out about yet. Just like a baseball or football team wears jerseys to identify themselves, we will be building a team of people dedicated to helping others with and through The OneHeart Organization. We are beyond excited to be a part of such an awesome opportunity and remain humbled and amazed by the continued support, encouragement, thoughts, and prayers that have been sent our way! Let's band together to make a difference. By ourselves, we can do very little, but together, we can do anything.

Lots of love,

Beau + Luci

October 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

As long as I can remember, I've loved superheroes. What kid doesn't? They're strong, they're brave, they're larger than life and always there when we need them. No matter how bleak the situation may be, we can always count on them to swoop in, save the day, and demolish the city. I've been an Iron Man girl for years, but there was one superhero I loved before I ever heard the name Tony Stark. It's not Superman. It's not Batman. My superhero isn't famous or rich or the owner of a spectacular suit. He doesn't have breathtaking anger management problems. He doesn't have a hammer or hair with magical properties. He doesn't have a shield that he throws really hard while wearing a suit so tight it makes everyone uncomfortable. He doesn't have an army. He's not super fast, super strong, or a master of forty-seven different types of martial arts. He probably couldn't hit the broad side of a building with a bow and arrow. But he's still my favorite. He's my dad.

When we were little, Daddy used to tell us that he could pick up houses and that he moved cars out of the way when he needed a parking spot. We believed him. Every single word. I knew that nothing could ever go wrong because my dad was there to save the day. I still feel that way. He might not be able to pick up the house, but he can pick me up when I fall down. He might not be able to move cars, but he would move heaven and earth to take care of his family. He gets up and goes to work every day to make sure we're all taken care of. He's a good man, a good father. The very best, to me. He knows what it means to make sacrifices for the people he loves. He's fair in everything he does, and if anyone said anything otherwise, nobody would believe it. There are very few people in the world as good as my dad, and I'm so very blessed to be able to call him not only my father but my friend.

My dad is an example not only to me but to everyone he meets. He puts God first in everything he does. He leads his family in a way that honors God. He made sure we were in church when we were younger, but he didn't leave it to the Sunday School teachers to tell us about Jesus's love. He preached it, but more than that, he lived it. He taught us to work hard, and he showed us what hard work looks like. He showed us that opportunities rarely drive up in a limousine, dressed in a slick black suit. He taught us to be grateful and to appreciate the little things, because in the end, it's the little things that end up looking like the big things. He taught us that love is more than a word; it's a verb, and while it's great to say, "I love you," it's even better to show it. He showed Beau and me what a Godly husband looks like, and he's set the bar high. He taught us to value ourselves and to never settle, to be true to ourselves and to remember that, at the end of the day, God loves us and so does he. He is a living example of a true gentleman, and I am proud to say that he and Mama are raising a son that is a mirror of those ideals. He is capable of handling almost any situation, but he has never pretended to be a "macho man." Daddy is quick to give out hugs and tell us he loves us. He showed us that real men express themselves to the ones they love most. He encouraged us to value our education, to love learning, and to embrace the talents, quirks, and oddities we were given. He has never tried to shape us to a pre-existing mold he made for us. He is proud of us for who we are and what we have done, are doing, and will do in the future. All he asks is that we love him, Mama, and each other, honor God, and stay away from hippie tree-huggers and Florida fans.

Daddy gives good advice, too. When we were younger and in school, his suggestion for dealing with anything was, "Punch them in the nose." None of us actually punched anyone in the nose, but the advice was unexpected enough to make us stop crying and start laughing. That is still his favorite piece of advice, but he doesn't use it as much anymore, since we're all at that age of having such trouble trying not to become violent psychopaths.

He loves football, rock and roll music, and Phil Robertson (and the rest of the Duck Dynasty cast, but especially Phil). He's the reason we knew who Gene Simmons was at four or five, and that We Will Rock You was, in fact, not sung by a woman. He encourages listening to "good music," but despite his intolerance of "teeny bopper" music, the first thing he did when he got his new truck was program a pop station for us. He is not fazed by screaming, giggling, or the general hysteria that accompanies the mention of certain names/bands/top secret security agencies. He accepts the fact that we have to stop and admire any magazine with a picture of One Direction on it. He doesn't care if our music is so loud the entire back of our house is shaking (as long as it's good music and the Dawgs aren't playing). He puts up with three women who don't have much of a grasp on the concept of time, wear a lot of makeup, and spend an ungodly amount of time getting dressed/picking out clothes/packing. He even sat (relatively) patiently and quietly every Tuesday night from 8 PM to 9 PM while Beau and I watched Pretty Little Liars on his TV. He drove us from Georgia to California last summer without a word of complaint, for the sole purpose of letting us follow our dreams.

He's involved, too, in every aspect of our life. He and Mama are a team, and even though they have their moments, they have managed to raise three children with good heads on their shoulders, a solid sense of right and wrong, and an innate reflex that answers "Yes ma'am," "No ma'am," "Yes, sir," or "No, sir," when asked anything by anybody. He goes into the studio with us whenever he can, gives us his honest opinion about whatever we're working on, and always manages to waylay our insecurities and encourage us when we're stuck in his quiet way. If there's one thing we know, it's that we can always go to Daddy about anything. He will always listen, he will always be honest, and even if it stings a bit, he will tell us what we need to hear. He's always on our side, too, always looking out for what's best for the whole family. We can count on him to be there, no matter what. He will swoop in and save the day without ever putting a scratch in his reading glasses. When things look bad, he's at our side. When it feels like the whole world's falling apart and everyone has run away, he's got our backs. And when we can't fight the battle before us, he ties a sheet around his neck and takes care of it.

But of course he does. That's what superheroes do.

Happy birthday, Daddy. We love you so, so much. You're the best,

L + B^2

October 23, 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

...well, maybe not around here, but we are coming up on Halloween, which means that Christmas songs will start playing in stores shortly thereafter. Not that that's a bad thing, if you're like me, but if you spend the most wonderful time of the year trying to figure out a way to make Christmas music illegal, you're probably not looking forward to it. Beau's that way; she tries to eat Christmas but finds she can't stomach all the cheer and goodwill to mankind. I like to sing "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" at her, especially the part about the 39-and-a-half-foot pole (note: this sentiment is true any time of the year before 11 AM, not just during the Christmas season).

Anyways, no matter how you feel about Christmas, everybody likes free stuff, right? 'Tis the season to be jolly, and we plan on making somebody very jolly indeed. We're offering a $25 prepaid Visa card to anyone who goes here ( and suggests some Christmas songs for our set in "The Sunday Night Show" at BCOG on December 15, 2013. By helping us out and giving us some ideas, you'll be automatically entered to win free money. Easy enough, right? Right. Piece of, pie.

Also, you can sign up for the email list, which will keep you up-to-date and on top of everything Beau + Luci. You might know things before we do. Who knows? You'll also know about upcoming events, prizes, and exclusives before anyone else. I don't know about you, but I like knowing things before other people. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Remember to "like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, check us out on Spotify, and share us with your friends! Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Much love,

B + L

October 20, 2013

Praise the Gourd

I love the fall, and any opportunity to get into the season gets me excited, so when I saw that my Grandmama had the latest Southern Living magazine, all decked out with pumpkins, fall foliage, and a big "Fall Fun Guide" written across the front, I was all over that. I get a giddy feeling every time I find the newest edition, but this one was special, because when Southern Living starts talking about fall, it means that Halloween is on the way, which serves as a little jet-booster to get us to Thanksgiving and Christmas (and an excuse to eat indecent amounts of candy and pretend to be someone else without getting strange looks). Anyways, as I was flipping through, I came across a little article written by Rick Bragg that I enjoyed and decided to share, along with some fun facts about my third favorite holiday. Have a spook-tacular week!

"I bemoan the day the zombie usurped the pumpkin as the unofficial mascot of Halloween."

Halloween used to be simple. You got a punkin, cut off its top, gouged out its stringy orange insides, and carved a face on it that looked like your brother. But that just wasn’t good enough for some folks.

I realize this may mark me as one of those people who resurface every October, hollering about the perils of Halloween. Not me. I have been quietly celebrating it a long time and have never been moved, no matter how many bushels of candy corn I consumed, to run off and worship the devil. But I fear this holiday has lost its soul.

I blame the zombies.

Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed, what with all their moaning and lurching and…well, I guess moaning and lurching is all they do, if you don’t count standing around looking walleyed and gnashing their bad teeth. You can’t swing a dead black cat this time of year without knocking a few down like bowling pins, which is not hard to do, considering they move at the pace of a box turtle, more nuisance than fright. Anything I can walk briskly away from—and that list gets shorter every year—is unlikely to strike fear in my heart. I figure I should still be able to outsprint a zombie when I am a hundred and fifteen. That is, if they don’t annoy me to death first.

I should not care so deeply about them, but there are so many rubber-legging around these days that they threaten to become the iconic image of my favorite time of year. Halloween has always been, to me, a time to smile at things that frighten us, to watch the night sky for witches but encounter them only as they walk down the street on the way to Ruby Tuesday. I used to be afraid of vampires, but how can you fear one 3 feet tall, squinting in my porch light, trying not to swallow his drugstore fangs when his mama smacks him upside the head for forgetting to say “thank you” for the Sugar Babies?

Mostly I love Halloween because it is the orange-and-black beginning of a season that tumbles into Thanksgiving, which tumbles into Christmas. And zombies just seem a little out of place in that. Thanksgiving should have nothing to do with armies of the shuffling undead. Don’t get me started on Christmas. The only undead at Christmas should be Jacob Marley, wailing about greed.

The iconic image of Halloween should be, as God intended, the punkin. The punkin, carved into faces that are scary only because we want them to be, winking from every front porch. The punkin, cast in plastic, swinging from the hands of knee-high princesses, leering back from department store shelves, until it gives way to tins of butter cookies.

But I fear for the punkin. How long before he is kicked down the street by zombie hordes, booted into obscurity? Young people tell me that no one—no one—wants to dress up like a punkin anymore. All a punkin does, they say, is sit there, and glow.

This may be true, all of it, but try to make a pie out of a zombie and see where that gets you.

Fun Facts About Halloween:

1. The first Jack O'Lanterns were made from turnips.

2. The word "witch" comes from the Old English wicce, meaning "wise woman." In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

3. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

4. The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl's call meant someone was about to die.

5. According to Irish Legend, Jack O'Lanterns were named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance to both Heaven and Hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from ther paths.

6. The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with an 836 pound pumpkin.

7. Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world's fastest pumpkin carving time: 24.03 seconds, smashing his previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth

8. Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

9. “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.

10. “Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1. In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.

11. Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.

12. Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.

13. Comedian Lewis Black has a theory about candy corn: "All the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1914. They never had to make it again. We never eat enough of it. We only eat two or three or four pieces apiece. So, literally, after Halloween the candy corn companies send out their minions. And they go from garbage can to garbage can and collect the corn and throw it back in the bags. And it appears next year."

(All credit goes to Rick Bragg, Southern Living, Mindfloss, and Random Facts.)

October 13, 2013

The Pale Blue Dot

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot," but it is one of those unassuming works of art that leave you breathless and covered in goosebumps. I first came across it in a Creative Writing class, in our section on media and videogaphy, and my initial reaction was, "Ugh. Videos. I hate videos. I want to read." About ten seconds in, I was interested. By the time the video ended, I was on the edge of my seat and filled with such pride and love for our pale blue dot that I watched it again. We all know the Earth is our home. I mean, duh. Toddlers know that. First graders definitely know it. To most of us, the Earth is the largest object we will ever personally know. It's where we live and eat and sleep and raise our families. It's where we were born and where we will die. It's where we laugh and cry, and serves as the great stage upon which the grand drama of the human race is played. All the heroes, all the villains, all of us as are "but dust and shadows," and we live upon a "mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." What a spectacular world.

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

-Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

October 9, 2013

Find us on Pinterest and Instagram!

It has finally happened. Like any girl, we couldn't fight the draw of Pinterest and have given in to all our pin-ful desires. You can find our profile here ( and check out all the pictures of models wearing moto jackets and superheroes eating schawarma we've pinned.

Also, we've felt compelled to present our life to the public in vintage-inspired filters, so check us out on Instagram at beauandluci!

Check us out, and if you haven't already, follow us on Twitter (BeauAndLuci), like us on Facebook (/OfficiallyBeauAndLuci), find the California cuts of our debut album "Rules of Society" on iTunes, and sign up for email alerts on the website ( Stay connected so you don't miss out on the exciting things coming up for Beau + Luci!

Lots of love and chocolate cake,

B + L xx

October 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

There are very few people on the planet that are as special as our mother. Not only is she beautiful on the inside and out, the woman is a genius. She raised three children (four, if we're being honest; we know you're technically an adult, Daddy, but age is really just a number) while never losing the child inside of her. She is funny, enthusiastic, and a bit a lot clumsy, finding herself at the butt of most of our jokes. She knows how to laugh at herself, which is a really good thing. Otherwise, we would have found ourselves in a TON of trouble over the past 18 years. She is the most loyal person we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She sees the goodness and the beauty in everything and everyone, no matter the color or creed. She has listened to us waxing poetic over the virtues of one celebrity or another, undergone numerous in-depth descriptions of movies or television shows (most of which she'd already seen), managed not to laugh as we suffered heartbreak at the hands of a movie star or a singer that we were going to marry, and even claimed us when we went into public wearing Halloween costumes in March, braided our hair into something akin to cornrows with beads and ribbons, or tried to do our own makeup (on certain occasions, all three were involved).

In short, Mama is the greatest.

There are really no words to explain how much we love her. She is our friend, our confidant, our biggest cheerleader, our number 1 fan, and our counselor. She has worn the hat of a chef, a driver, a coach, a nurse, a teacher, and, more recently, a manager. She dedicated her entire life to us, giving up her dreams for ours. How do you thank someone for that? How do you try to repay that kind of debt? We could wake up tomorrow and say "Thank you. I love you," over and over and over, day in and day out, and never truly express how grateful we are for her, how much we love her. But you can be sure we're going to try.

Mama, you are something else. We have never met anyone like you, and maybe that's a good thing, because the world couldn't take two Allison's. Whether you're drawing elephants on the kitchen windows in Sharpie or marching around the house banging pots and pans together simply because you can, you are a source of constant fun and enthusiasm. You set the perfect example of a strong, independent, Godly woman. You have shown the two of us what it means to be a lady with class, a woman with brains, and a girl with heart. You taught us to be ourselves in a world that would stop at nothing to shape us to its mold. You taught us to think for ourselves and to never, ever dumb ourselves down to fit in. You showed us that fitting in wasn't all that it's cracked up to be, and it's much better to be thought of as positively ridiculous than cool, if being cool meant we had to act positively ridiculous.

You instilled in us the importance of family, enforced in us the truth that blood truly is thicker than water, and showed us that the best friends we could ever have are in the form of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, and even Gamecock-loving cousins. You taught us the importance of being kind and polite, but also that we should never let ourselves be walked all over. You taught us to be confident, to respect ourselves, and to always seek to grow and be better while never forgetting that we are perfect in your eyes and in God's eyes. You taught us to be a princess, the daughter of the King of kings, to walk with our heads held high and to always believe in ourselves. You are our constant in an ever changing world. You have always been there, and you will always be there, no matter the distance between us. You are as steady and shine as brightly as the sun. Thank you for helping us grow and flourish in your light.

You gave us the confidence to follow our dreams, to step out into uncertainty and off of the ledge of normalcy, to trust our wings to carry us through. You offered your unyielding support, and we thank you for that. We would have quit so many times before if it weren't for your eternal-and oftentimes, unfounded-belief in us. You see us not as we think we are, but as we could be, and you never let us stop dreaming. You held us when we cried, wiped away our tears, and took our hands when we were too afraid to go forward alone. You prayed for us, and your prayers cling to us even now, guiding us along the dark and twisted path we walk and protecting us in the way that only a mother's love can.

You showed us what it means to be a Godly wife and mother. People may look down on your decision to be a stay-at-home mom, but we think you are the queen, Mama. You wear your crown well, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving us, for laughing with us, and for allowing us to be involved in your life. Thank you for loving us, thank you for loving Daddy, thank you for loving your parents and giving us a perfect example of what the love of a mother, wife, and daughter looks like. You are the greatest woman in the world, Mama, and we love you so much!

Happy birthday, Mama. We hope you have a day that's just as wonderful as you are (which is really impossible, because you are the most incredible person on the planet).

We love you so much,

L + B^2

September 29, 2013

An Example of the Various Ways 26 Letters (and A Few Numbers and Symbols) Can Be Combined

I don't know about you guys, but I have always been one of those ridiculous people who gets absurdly excited when I've just learned something that is completely and totally useless and irrelevant in any way, shape, or form. I've got more useless information stockpiled in my mind than I would ever care to admit, and I count myself as very lucky to run across a particularly frivolous fact before sitting down to write this blog. According to Mental Floss's blog (which is one of my favorite websites and a fabulous place to wile away the hours), the melody of Vladimir Putin's favorite Beatles song "Yesterday" came to Paul McCartney without any words. Until he could find the words that have since become the stuff of legend, he walked around his house humming, "scrambled eggs, baby, I love scrambled eggs," so he wouldn't lose the tune. (You can find the entire article, "11 Fun Facts about the Beatles" in the link listed below). It seems that genius and madness truly are separated by a very thin line.

Anyways, as promised, this is the first edition of our monthly newsletter thingamajig that will really do nothing but give you lot an inside look at how dreadfully delightfully uncool we are. Since this is the first go, it will be pretty experimental until we figure out what works and what doesn't.

What We're Doing
1. Scales. I sing scales in my sleep, I kid you not.
2. Writing/recording/writing/writing/recording. This is the fun stuff! It's such an incredible experience to see something that we created in our minds become a tangible object. We've truly been blessed to find a producer who is beyond talented and so passionate about his work. He has a gift for getting inside our mixed-up minds, finding the root of the song, and coming up with something that blows us away. We'll be hitting the studio again in a few weeks, and I'm getting more impatient everyday!
3. Scales.
4. School. For Beau and Braeden, September brought about the beginning of the school year. For me, it brought about the joy of reminding both of my younger siblings that I don't have any school to do because I have graduated and I'm taking a semester off. They grow less tolerant of this every time it's mentioned, but it's hard to hear their complaints over the fun of being free.
4. Scales.
5. Wrangling little monsters two- and three-year-olds at church. I love this age group. Their noise level is spectacular, their ability to love unconditionally is inspiring, and their enthusiasm and thoughtless expression of emotions are contagious. I never knew how much fun it was to build a tower of blocks and run at it, full speed ahead, with my arms flung out to the side and a battle cry on my lips. There is as much fun in the destruction as their is in the creation. Plus, their constant need for the answer to "Why?" make it even better. These kids will believe anything!

What We're Listening To
(I have to start this off by saying that the grammar fanatic in me wanted very much to revise this title and make it say "To Whom We're Listening," but the obsessive-compulsive desire for continuity and parallel structure won out. It took five minutes of great internal struggle before I could get on with this post.)
1. Paramore's self-titled CD. Beau and I have always been fans of Paramore and the band's leading lady, Miss Hayley Williams. It's impossible to dislike her, thanks to her magnetic, charismatic performances, her killer vocals, and her fiery red hair. She is the embodiment of a highly caffeinated energy drink, with all the charm of a red velvet cupcake with sprinkles on top. I just love her, and this album has made me love her even more.
2. Daughter. I happened upon this band very early one morning while I was on YouTube. I can't remember what songs led me to them, but I'm very grateful they did. Elena Tonra has the voice of an angel, and it pulses with more feeling than Ron Weasley could ever believe any one person could possibly feel. If you've heard of them, you are an honorary member of some lofty, enlightened club. If not, you have now, so go check them out.
3. Imagine Dragons. This band is the greatest. It's Time caught my attention, Radioactive gives me the desire to break through the windshield of the car and go all Rambo on a tree, and everything else is beyond criticism. A++++++++.
4. Ed Sheeran is the second ginger to make this month's list and will most likely be mentioned in every month's list. I love this guy. He's short, he's a Lego enthusiast, and his cheeks can turn the color of his hair. Don't get me started on him, because I will go and go and go and go.

What We're Watching
1. The Avengers. We are superhero freaks in this house, so anything that Joss Whedon created that includes Iron Man, Loki, and Captain America (Beau is his biggest fan, though I think that Iron Man is much more better* than Spangly-Butt Tight-Pants)is bound to be a hit with us. I think we've watched it at least a dozen times, and unlike Thor (which is also a fabulous movie that we all love), I paid attention to the whole thing, not just the first thirty minutes. (I like to watch them and pretend it's a short film called Loki.)
2. Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Iron Man deleted scenes, Iron Man bloopers, Iron Man behind the scenes. Ok, so what? I'm a big Iron Man fan. Sue me.
3. Sherlock. We've recently been introduced to the brilliance (and emotional trauma) that is British television. Feeling good, life going well, everything looking pretty nice? Don't watch anything offered to you by BBC. Run. Run. But seriously, if Robert Downey Jr. insists on being happily married, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston are very nice consolation prizes.

What We're Reading
1. Harry Potter, or Emotional Trauma in Book Form by J.K. Rowling. Still no letter. Still waiting. Always.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or A Study of Emotional Trauma and Extremely Nonfictional Feelings for Fictional Characters in Fangirls by Stephen Chybosky. This book is powerful in a way that very few books are nowadays. It hits me every single time I read it, no matter how many times I've read it before, and I'm left speechless and feeling a bit confused in finding once again that Charlie is in fact not a real person.
3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. Don't talk to me about these books. I still can't think about them.
4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. This book surprised me and actually turned out to make the list of my favorite books. It's just weird enough to keep me turning the pages while driving home a very real point about something that I've yet to figure out. I'll get back to you when I do, though.

Well, to make up for the length of last week's post, I'm going to cut this one off. Enjoy your weekend, remember to tell someone you love them, master a new form of martial arts, and either be very grateful it's actually cool enough to wear sweaters or turn the air conditioner on and pretend it's not 80-something degrees.

Xx, L.

P.S. Here is the link for the article I mentioned above! Very cool to read.

*I am aware that "much more better" is not correct grammar, but quoting Capt. Jack Sparrow (the only real captain) has proved to be the only way to get some points across.

September 22, 2013

George Saunders's Advice to Graduates

I recently had the pleasure of coming across a lovely little article by The New York Times sharing the convocation speech author George Saunders shared at Syracuse University. While it is long past graduation season, it was a good read full of advice drawn from Saunders's personal experiences, touching on the importance of kindness and the trouble that comes from swimming in a river full of monkey poo. I liked it so much, actually, that I've decided to share it in this week's blog post. Not only was it interesting and personable, Saunders's speech really drives home how absolutely necessary it is to be kind in a world that is actively fighting against all acts of it. I've taken away from it a new desire to show kindness, and I hope you will too, no matter how little kindness the world has shown to you. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle of their own, and no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

"Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you). And I intend to respect that tradition.

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking one of them to do one of their old-time dances so you can watch while laughing is ask: "Looking back, what do you regret?" And they'll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they'll tell you even if you haven't asked. Sometimes, even when you've specifically requested they not tell you, they'll tell you. So what do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like "knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?" (And don't even ASK what that entails.) No. I don't regret that. Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much. Do I regret the occasional humiliation? Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl? No. I don't even regret that.

But here's something I do regret. In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her convocation speech name will be Ellen. Ellen was small, shy. She wore these blue cat's-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it. So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased ("Your hair taste good? - that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she'd look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After a while she'd drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: "How was your day, sweetie?" and she'd say, "Oh, fine." And her mother would say, "Making any friends?" and she'd go, "Sure, lots."

Sometimes I'd see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it. And then they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing. One day she was there, next day she wasn't. End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her. But still. It bothers me. So here's something I know to be true, although it's a little corny, and I don't quite know what to do with it: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded...sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or to look at it from the other end of the telescope, Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth? Those who were the kindest to you, I bet. It's a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I'd say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than try to be kinder.

Now,the million dollar question: What's our problem? Why aren't we kinder? Here's what I think. Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somewhat Darwinian. These are 1) we're central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); 2) we're separate from the universe (there's US and then, out there, all that other junk - dogs and swing-sets and the state of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people; and 3) we're permanent (death is real, ok, sure...for you, but not for me.)

Now, we don't really believe these things-intellectually we know better-but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs way over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what's actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

So the second million dollar question: How might we DO this? How might we become more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc.? Well, yes, good question. Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left. So let me just say this. There are ways. You already know that because, in your life, there have been high kindness periods and low kindness periods, and you know what inclined you toward the former and away from the latter. Education is good; immersing ourselves in a work of art is good; prayer is good; meditation's good; a frank talk with a dear friend; establishing ourselves in some kind of spiritual tradition; recognizing that there have been countless really smart people who have asked these same questions and left behind answers for us.

Because kindness, it turns out, is hard. It starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs and expands to include, well...everything.

One thing in our favor: some of this "becoming kinder" happens naturally, with age. It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish, how illogical, really. We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality. We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we're not separate and don't want to be. We see people near and dear to us dropping away and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away, someday, a long time from now. Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet Hayden Carruth said in a poem written near the end of his life that he as "mostly Love, now."

And so, a prediction and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. You will gradually be replaced by love. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won't care what happens to you, as long as they benefit. That's one reason your parents are so proud and happy today. One of their fondest dreams has come true: you have accomplished something difficult and tangible that has enlarged you as a person and will make your life better, from here on in, forever (congratulations, by the way).

When young, we're anxious, understandably, to find out if we've got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you-in particular, you of this generation-may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high school in hopes of getting into a good college so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can...

And this is actually ok. If we're going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves. Still, accomplishment is unreliable. "Succeeding," whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there's the very real danger that "succeeding" will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended. So, quick end of speech advice: since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving, hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There's a confusion in each of us, a sickness really: selfishness. But there's also a cure. So be a good and proactive and event somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf. Seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines energetically for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things-travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop)-but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. The luminous part of you that exists beyond personality-your soul, if you will-is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare's, bright as Gandhi's, bright as Mother Teresa's. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, shares its fruits tirelessly. And someday, in 80 years, when you'er 100 and I'm 134, and we're both so kind and loving we're nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say, "It has been so wonderful.""

I know this entry is a bit longer than the others, but I truly hope you've found as much enjoyment in reading this speech as I have, and you will begin today to be kinder and kinder until we're all so obnoxiously kind no one can stand us. Go out and be grand.

Xx, L.

September 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Braeden!

Tomorrow, our sweet little brother (who isn't so little anymore) will be turning 13, and we can say is, "How?!" It seems like just yesterday he was the rambunctious two year old who enjoyed climbing on top of the piano and playing loudly and enthusiastically with his feet, or the strong-willed (read: mule headed) four year old who had a denim baseball cap he wouldn't take off for anything, not even to sleep, or the outgoing five year old who knew every single NASCAR driver by name and could spout off their times and their wins and whether or not he thought they were sissies.

Everything about our brother, from the first day Mama and Daddy brought him home, was pedal to the metal. He came here talking, and Lord knows he's going to spend every single waking-and sometimes sleeping-moment of every single day talking, whether or not anyone is actually listening. He has filled our home with laughter, love, and conversation for almost thirteen years, adding generously to the chaos and keeping the insanity level right on the peak of explosion. Whether he's toying with yet another Percy Jackson theory or arguing Loki's case with extreme bias and prejudice, he is one hundred and five percent into whatever he's doing. He is enthusiastic, optimistic, and easy going, balancing out the two of us with innate skill, and has a sense of humor that leaves us in stitches, as well as penchant for not wearing pants.

He takes everything in stride, including a physical disability that left him struggling to keep up with other kids his age. Instead of letting it slow him down, though, he got creative, and he truly showed us what it means to be a trooper. He has dealt with the pain of his disability as well as the aggravation of having two older sisters with the patience of a martyr, something that truly leaves us in awe. Never once has he complained about sitting for hours in a recording studio while we work. He adds to our excitement, he helps extinguish our fears and doubts, and from the very beginning, he was our number 1 fan. Mama often says that none of this would have been possible if he had been anything like the two of us when we were younger, and while that it true, we'd like to take it a step farther and say that none of this would have been possible without him. Thank you so much, Braeden, for your unswerving loyalty, your dogged determination to be optimistic and upbeat, your patience, your encouragement, your enthusiasm, and your creativity. You are such a wonderful young man, and we are beyond blessed and grateful to be your older sisters, even if we don't always act like it. Thank you for letting us into your world and sharing your passions for superheroes and demigods and video games. We might have been able to survive without in-depth knowledge of NASCAR drivers and Percy Jackson conspiracy theories or your complete and total dedication and cooperation in proving Loki's goodness, but we wouldn't have wanted to. You are our little brother, but more importantly, you are our friend...even though you won't sit with us in church.

Happy birthday, Braeden. We hope that you have the greatest of all days of birth, a party that reaches Asgardian standards for food and fun (hopefully without any errant bilgesnipe showing up uninvited), and all the Lego sets you can manage to put together perfectly. The day you've been waiting for has finally arrived: double digits! ;D

Loads of love and lots of lipstick-y kisses (because what else are sisters for?),

B + L

September 8, 2013

Hello, September!

Wow, what a month! August is always a whirlwind for us, between school starting and birthdays and the one thing we've all been waiting for: football season. It's finally here, and even though the first game didn't go exactly how we might have wanted it, we're still bleeding red and black and believing that the Dawgs can come out on top.

That being said, we wanted to take a minute and share what's been going on with B+L. We started out the month in the studio, and we're both in agreement that there was no better way to kick off August. There is a sort of giddy, long-lasting energy that comes from making music, and I can truthfully say I'm beyond addicted to the rush. We get to hit the studio again in a few weeks, and we're working as quickly as we can to get new music finished so all of you can hear it. It's a long, sometimes frustrating process, and we apologize for the wait! Please be patient with us and know that we're trying to get the best sound and the best product to share, because we firmly believe that you guys deserve only the best! So many people have been incredibly supportive and encouraging throughout this adventure, and we hope to continue sharing it with you. We'll be partnering with some really incredible, talented people, getting involved in things we're passionate about, and seeing some exciting stuff come to fruition. I can't wait!

After our time in the studio, we all gathered around to watch the Teen Choice Awards, looking forward to seeing One Direction and Paramore play (and didn't Hayley absolutely kill it?!). We did get to see them perform (and Harry Styles twerk), but we also got a big surprise: Ashton Kutcher's speech. I've always been an Ashton Kutcher fan, promising Mom over and over that no, he's not really like Kelso in real life! But it wasn't until he got up and spoke about working hard, staying humble, and how important intelligence is that she really believed me. He surprised us all, to be honest. He said things that should be said more often but are just glossed over. We're growing up in a generation where working hard and being smart are not cool, and that's really sad, because there is so much wasted potential. We're fed television, music, and literature that have less substance than cotton candy. We're told to look up to people who glorify taking off their clothes and partying instead of doing something that matters. We're told that "swag" is more important than self-respect, class, or brains. We're told that we are too young, too inexperienced, and too immature to care about what's going on in our society, a society which is only as strong as its weakest link. We are encouraged to sit idly by, sated on reality television and bubblegum pop music, while other people run the world. Why is that popular? Why is that considered the social norm? Why are we content with living like this?

Ashton went on to say that "the sexiest thing in the entire world" is being smart. "Life can be a lot broader when you realize one simple thing-and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own thing. You can build your own life." He finished off his speech by saying, "So build a life, don't live one, find your opportunities, and always be sexy." I think that's an incredibly powerful way of looking at life. What could be more satisfying than living a life that I built? Plus, being sexy is one of my goals, because awkward, hopelessly ridiculous, and socially inept really aren't working for me.

Just kidding. I rock awkward like nobody's business.

A week after being inspired and challenged by Ashton Kutcher, we went to St. Simon's to celebrate Beau's 16th birthday (woohoo!). We spent the entire day downtown, eating cheeseburgers and more frozen yogurt than any self-respecting human would ever admit. I have yet to achieve my goal of taking a five gallon bucket into a yogurt shop and filling it up, but man. Those large cups are pretty dang close to a bucket, and we filled them up, since it was a special occasion and all. All in all, it was a successful weekend. The only problem is that Beau now thinks she should be able to drive all the time. Needless to say, I'm going to go gray very early.

We hope you've all had a wonderful August and are looking forward to September as much as we are (goodbye, 100 degree weather, hello, sweaters!). This year has flown by, and while there have been some bumps in the road, some really great things have come together, and it is our belief that the rest of the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Oh, one last thing: we've decided that once a month, we'll be putting out a debriefing of sorts, letting you know what we've been up to and how much time we've spent fangirling. Maybe there should be a disclaimer, because we're really not very exciting, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Stay sexy, my friends.

Xx, L

August 4, 2013

Keep the Channel Open

I'm going to be honest with you guys--I've had an "off" day. Well, a lot of off days lately. Like nothing I do is good enough, and the harder I strive for perfection, the farther I am from it. There has been no satisfaction with anything I've done lately. I can't find words to express myself, I can't turn my mind off, and I just don't feel very good about myself. Do you know what I mean? The face in the mirror hasn't changed, but it doesn't look so good all of the sudden. I do the same things the same way, but they just don't feel right. I feel aggravated, unhappy, and discontent, uncomfortable in my own skin, and then guilty for feeling all these things when I have no reason in the world to be anything but immensely, eternally joyful. It's not a good feeling.

Having finally gotten myself out of this funk, I wanted to share some things with you guys. Whether you're just having a bad day or a string of bad days or a whole bucket of bad days, sometimes all you need is to feel like you're not alone, that you're not the only one to feel bad about yourself and your life. On one of my worst days, I found a quote by Martha Graham in the back of a vocal instruction book, and felt that it applied to much more than singing:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

In living an extraordinary life, there are breathtaking highs and soul-crushing lows. There are rarely any times of moderation, peace, or contentment. There is an inexplicable desire to keep moving forward, to dig out of the wreckage of whatever mistake you've just made and keep pushing on, over the mountain and onto the next one. When you keep that creative channel open, not only do you open yourself up to feeling greater ecstasy than imaginable, you also subject yourself to the darkest, most secret places of the human mind, the dusty corners that so many ignore. That feeling of flying high usually ends in a crash landing, but it is in these crash landings that it is most important to find a way to express yourself. Like the saying goes, when you're happy, you enjoy the music, but when you're sad, you understand the lyrics.

That being said, I've found a playlist on some website that I've since forgotten, titled simply "Confidence." I would like to share this as well:

1. How to be a Heartbreaker - Marina and the Diamonds
2. Tip Toes - Jaymee Dee (LOVE this one!)
3. Carried Away - Passion Pit
4. When I Grow Up - The Pussycat Dolls
5. High Hopes in Velvet Ropes - The Cab
6. Body of Work - The Mynabirds
7. Come and Get It - Selena Gomez
8. Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club
9. Three - Cameron Ernst
10. C'mon, C'mon - One Direction (babes!)
11. You've Got a Place Called Home - Hannah Georgas
12. You Need Me, I Don't Need You - Ed Sheeran (all time favorite; this man is my hero.)
13. Primadonna - Marina and the Diamonds
14. We Are Who We Are - Little Mix (my addition; such an upbeat song!)
15. Chloe (You're the One I Want)- Emblem3

Lucky for me, I've got some wonderful friends and family around me who are willing to listen to me obsess over the same things over and over and over and over again and never get tired of it...or at least don't show it! I've got to run off to church now, but I wanted to take a minute and get this down. Have a blessed day!

Xx, L